Last time out at Martinsville Speedway, both Ross Chastain and the Ricky Benton Racing (RBR) Enterprises NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) team had a bit of late-race heartbreak ruining any chances they had to win.
This time around, Chastain and the No. 92 BTS Tire and Wheel Distributors/National Watermelon Association/Goodyear FleetHQ Ford F-150 team feel as though Martinsville Speedway owes them something in this week's running of the Kroger 250.
Starting eighth in the 2013 Kroger 200, Chastain made his way around eventual race winner, Darrell Wallace, Jr. just past the halfway mark in the 200-lap event and went on to lead 14 laps with his sights set on his first series win. Unfortunately, a pit call to stay out under caution, when a majority of the trucks on the lead lap pit for fresh tires, left Chastain's No. 19 Brad Keselowski Racing Ford as a sitting duck on the ensuing restart.
Chastain finished the race 17th.
"Monday morning quarterback says it's one of a few that got away," Chastain said. "However, I don't regret any decisions we made last year. We were a young team; we did a lot right without knowing how or why, but nobody sees that part of it. All that's publicized are the mistakes. The important part is I had a really strong Ford F-150 last year and we were in position to have a really strong finish."
Scott Riggs had the RBR No. 92 truck securely in the top five in the same race's waning laps before being bumped out of the racing groove on the penultimate lap.
He eventually finished the race in ninth place.
"That was definitely a fun race for us," said RBR owner Ricky Benton. "I just hate we didn't have quite the finish we were in line for."
Both owner and driver feel optimistic about their chances to get a little revenge on the tough half-mile track in Southern Virginia.
"The important part is I had a really strong Ford F-150 last year and we were in position to have a really strong finish," Chastain said. "We will be looking for that same feeling this year in my No. 92 Ford and hopefully we can reclaim what we left behind last year."
"That race last year, despite the hiccup there at the end, really buoyed our program," said Benton. "With the hard work our guys put in over the winter and the confidence we gained with the great run at Daytona, I'm confident Ross and this team can be in a position to win on Saturday."
Practice makes perfect
In preparation of Saturday's Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway, Chastain and the RBR No. 92 Ford F-150 team tested at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Va. on Monday, March 24.
"We had a pretty productive day testing," Chastain said. (Crew chief) Trip (Bruce) made very minimal changes, spending most of our time working on longer race runs and getting a good balance in our Ford F-150. Our focus was to shake down the truck and make sure we were ready when we unload at Martinsville this weekend."